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Journal des dames et des modes, (1812)

Just three weeks ago Drunk Tailor and I went to see the new Emma. We made an evening of it, aware that it would likely be our last excursion for some time.

Dressed in our early 19th-century attire, we had dinner out before we went to the theatre. I don’t know if this is my favorite Emma— the BBC adaptation with Romola Garai is one of my comfort movie go-tos– but it is by far the funniest, meanest, most satirical version of Emma I’ve encountered.We laughed a lot– more than most viewers, though I know the Regency Society of Virginia folks did too, behind us– and that was an interesting way to take in Austen.

There are some interesting pieces on the visual and material culture of Autumn de Wilde’s version, including one on color and class, and I’ve enjoyed seeing these pieces become part of the popular discourse around the movie and the novel. (I find I have to ignore the comments by Anya Taylor-Joy on corsets, which make zero sense to me as a wearer of 18th and early 19th century stays.)

I don’t know if we’ll stream the new Emma— the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice is a favorite of mine so that might be this weekend’s chocie– but today I started coloring in some paper doll dresses. A year or more ago, I made my own Emma doll, and, over time, drew several sheets of dresses. They’re here for you to download and fill in as you please. While for now these are a way for me to have all the clothes in La Belle Assemblee and Ackermann’s Repository, I also see these as potential croquis, a way to map out what I want to make. I do, after all, have a Strategic Fabric Reserve. I’ve uploaded my drawings in case you might enjoy them too (it’s an idiosyncratic style, I admit) as we all find ways to occupy ourselves indoors.

Emma and her dresses for download